Seattle (WA) Fire Department Employee Arrested, Accused of Sending Threats to City Council Member

Firefighters on a hoseline

David Gutman

The Seattle Times

(MCT)

Feb. 13—A Seattle Fire Department employee has been arrested, accused of cyberstalking, computer trespass, and identity theft for emailing threats to a Seattle City Council member, Seattle police announced Friday.

Police did not specify which council member received the threats, but, last month, City Councilmember Kshama Sawant called for an investigation after she said she received threatening emails from a Fire Departmentemail address.

“Seattle Policebelieve a 42-year-old man, who works for the Seattle Fire Department, sent a series of threatening emails earlier this year to a SeattleCity Councilmember,” the police department wrote.

Police said they initially investigated one Fire Departmentemployee, but that person was eliminated as a suspect. The investigation led to a second employee, police said, and that person, whom they didn’t name, was arrested Friday.

The man was booked into the King County Jailjust before 12:30 p.m. Fridayon investigation of computer trespass, identity theft and felony harassment, jail records show. He will make his first court appearance Saturday afternoon.

The Seattle Timesis not naming him because he has not been criminally charged.

“The Seattle Police Departmentwill fully investigate any threat made against any public official and will work with prosecutors to ensure they are held responsible,” the department wrote.

Seattle Fire Departmentconfirmed that a firefighter/EMT was arrested on Friday morning while coming off duty.

“The arrest is in relation to threats made from a fire department email address to a City of Seattle Councilmember in late 2020 and early 2021,” spokesperson Kristen Tinsleywrote. “This individual has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the upcoming legal process and internal investigation.”

Sawant, who had previously called for investigations, said she received the threats in December and January.

The emails, which Sawant said she received between Dec. 17 and Jan. 18, are ominous and threatening.

“The time is here,” the emailer wrote, according to the messages supplied by Sawant’s office. “Announce your resignation now, or else.”

“If you know what’s good, you would know it’s time to go,” read a message from December. “If you need help leaving, try jumping head first off the top floor of your building. I’ll even come push you.”

In a public letter last month, Sawant wrote: “I believe these emails must be taken very seriously given the current political context with an emboldened right wing nationally, the specific threatening content of the emails, and the fact that they originate from a City of Seattleemail account.”

Seattle Timesstaff writer Sara Jean Greencontributed to this report.

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